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Australian politician backs Greek battle for Parthenon Marbles May 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Vote For Return Greek Marbles.
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A senior Australian politician on Tuesday backed Greece in its battle to force Britain to return the so-called Elgin Marbles, priceless ancient Greek friezes held by the British Museum.

During the first ever visit to Australia by the Greek Prime Minister, New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma told Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis that it was time for London to relinquish the relics, also known as the Parthenon Marbles.

Iemma drew a parallel with the recent return by another London Museum of the 19th century remains of a group of Tasmanian Aborigines.

“It is time they did the same for Greece and return the Parthenon Marbles” Iemma said at a welcome luncheon held for Karamanlis who was beginning a five-day tour of Australia in Sydney. “I believe the Australian government must renew its efforts to persuade the British authorities to repatriate those unique treasures, and I pledge my government’s support and the efforts of all Australians who are friends of Greece,” said the leader of Australia’s most populous state.

The Parthenon Marbles are friezes and other artifacts that were part of the structure of the ruined Athens landmark illegally removed by Britain’s ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Thomas Bruce, seventh earl of Elgin, and taken to London in the early 19th century.

But the Greek government has since demanded the return of the items that it maintains were looted from one of the country’s most iconic monuments to allow them to be put on display in Athens, in the currently under final stages of construction, New Acropolis Museum. The British Museum has long argued that they should remain in London.

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